January 22, 2016
Min read

Impact Investing: How Kountable Improves Healthcare in Africa

Marcia Valkenhoff

Kountable is a technology platform that supports promising entrepreneurs in developing and emerging economies. Small-to medium sized businesses are key drivers for economic development. By working directly with local entrepreneurs in our pilot country Rwanda, we have learned that the main obstacle talented entrepreneurs in developing and emerging economies encounter in growing their businesses is lack of access to capital. Kountable measures the social capital of entrepreneurs and turns it into financial capital, enabling them to grow their businesses. Kountable provides a unique method to focus on business for development as a way to stimulate economic growth in developing and emerging economies.

Since Kountable’s official launch in May 2015, one-third of our approved projects in Rwanda have been in healthcare. The medical supplies sector in Rwanda has turned out to be our most profitable sector, with more than 1.2 million US$ in trade realized so far, nearly 50% of our total deployment. By providing financial support to local entrepreneurs in healthcare we have been able to directly target the quality of health care for Rwandan people. By financially supporting promising local entrepreneurs in healthcare Kountable drives economic growth, enables the delivery of medical supplies and services to underserved communities, improves the quality and quantity of people’s lives and helps to create jobs.

Until recently, Rwanda, a country of over 12 million people, had just 2 neonatal intensive care units at a single location. Kountable has partnered with Rwandan entrepreneur Fabrice Schema, together with USAID and the Rwandan Biomedical Center, to add 20 new units and parts for four units in 8 different locations. Fabrice Shema coordinated his team through the importation, assembly and training of the hospital staff.

Venantie Mukarivuze is the founder and managing director of Biopharmacia Co Ltd, a company that provides specialized medical products and diagnostics equipment to leading medical facilities, particularly in Rwanda. Venantie grew up as an exiled refugee in a family that strongly believed in education with a sense of duty. She is also a wife and a mother of three. Having worked as a nurse for more than 15 years, Venantie’s main challenge was often the quality of medications provided and the lack of adequate equipment.

Biopharmacia was founded out of a deep commitment to meet the day-to-day needs in reliable and high-quality medical products. In order to achieve this vision, Biopharmacia has built partnerships with leading international manufacturers. Biopharmacia and Kountable partner together to provide medical supplies to local hospitals in and around Kigali. These supplies are used by the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), which fights multiple diseases in Rwanda.

Biopharmacia has recently focused on the area of microbiology, a strategic focus given the projected annual growth rate of 13% globally. This field has significant applications for millions of people affected by infectious diseases in Africa. Biopharmacia’s recent introduction of medical equipment in microbiology will improve the entire diagnosis process. Previously, a patient could spend more than a week at the hospital as her doctor tries to determine a diagnosis for a spiking fever. With the partnership with BD, the new equipment can take as little as 4 hours to help guide the physician’s diagnosis, leading to an early treatment and discharge, and a life saved.

“In my time as a nurse, this type of equipment would have made such a significant impact, and I am proud to have introduced the first model in Rwanda. We have greatly benefited from a partner like Kountable. Not only are we able to rely on Kountable as a flexible partner who provides us with strong financial support, it also allows us to further our competitive advantage and enhance our vision,” Venantie.

Having proven the potential and profitability of its scalable model, Kountable is seeking additional investor capital to meet the strong entrepreneur demand in Rwanda and to expand to other countries. Kountable can now offer investors specifically interested in investing in healthcare the option to earmark their investments exclusively for support to entrepreneurs providing medical supplies and services that directly improve health care in Rwanda.

Read more about Venantie's business growth with Kountable ⟶
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